Family law glossary - A

A

Acknowledgement of service      
A form which acknowledges receipt of divorce documents by a respondent. The respondent must fill in, sign and return the acknowledgement form to Court within 14 days of receiving the divorce documents.  
 
Adjournment     
The postponing of a Court hearing until a later date.
 
Adoption          
An act by which the rights and duties of the natural parents of a child are extinguished and equivalent rights and duties become vested in the adopters. The child then stands in all respects as if born to the adopters in marriage.
 
Adultery           
Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a member of the opposite sex who is not the spouse, while the marriage is still valid. This is a common fact relied on for divorce.
 
Advocate          
A barrister or solicitor representing a party in a hearing before a Court.
 
Affidavit
A written statement of evidence confirmed on oath or by affirmation to be true. The document is sworn before a person authorised by the Court.
 
Affirmation        
Declaration by a witness who has no religious belief, or has religious beliefs that prevent him/her taking the oath. They declare by affirmation that the evidence they are giving is the truth.
 
Ancillary relief  
An application for financial settlement (e.g. maintenance) following the issue of a petition for divorce, nullity or judicial separation.
 
Annul   
To end a valid marriage.
 
Appeal 
Application to a higher Court or other body for review of a decision taken by a lower court or tribunal. The higher court may overturn or uphold the lower Court’s decision. Often, permission (leave) is required for an appeal to occur.
 
Applicant          
The person applying to Court for an order.
 
Application       
The act of applying to Court to ask it to do something.
 
Asset   
Something owned by a person such as a building, a vehicle or money.

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